Crying Wolf (PS)

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Páll Stefánsson's picture

I was close to Bárðarbunga volcano on Friday, waiting for the eruption.

I felt the earthquakes, but nothing visible happened. Nothing at all.

I just sat there in the Sprengisandur desert, all alone, staring at the sleeping volcano covered with thick ice.

So, by Friday afternoon I decided to head back to Reykjavík to take part in the Culture Night celebrations instead, along with one-hundred-and-one-thousand of my fellow countrymen.

The 2014 Reykjavík Culture Night concert seen from Arnarhóll.
One among 101 thousand in 101 Reykjavík.

“Shit!” was the first thing that came to mind when I got a phone call at fourteen-hundred-and-four on Saturday that the eruption had started, under Dyngjujökull outlet glacier, north of Bárðarbunga.

It would take me seven hours plus to get to the scene.

But for the first time in my life, I was wise. I decided to wait and see if there really would be something to see, and follow the developments of the sub-glacial eruption.

Instead I went to the Iceland Review office and along with four others tried to report to our readers what was really happening in Vatnajökull.

Road F821 leading through the highlands to Bárðarbunga volcano.
Alone on road F821, driving towards Bárðarbunga volcano.

Eygló was in a swimming pool near Akureyri with her family when I called—several times—while Zoë happened to be traveling in Northeast Iceland, in Öxarfjörður, where the most action was taking place. She had just driven across the bridge over Jökulsá á Fjöllum when the eruption was announced.

And speaking of coincidences… My parents, who met while constructing the bridge in 1956, have a summer house right next to it and with Zoë needing a place to go online, turned their house into a journalism center for the day.

Zoë was in the best place possible to observe the police closing the roads and making sure that no one was left in the vast area of Vatnajökull National Park that lies north of the glacier.

Four hours later, scientists started to doubt that an eruption had really started.

And still, four days later, we are waiting for the eruption to happen.

How long do we have to wait?

Less than a year is my best bet.  

Páll Stefánsson – ps@icelandreview.com

Views expressed here are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iceland Review.